In a series of 3 blog posts Andy Stirling, responds to the ideas of Giorgos Kallis on the ‘degrowth hypothesis’. Andy Stirling heard a talk by Girogos Kallis and afterwards wrote these 3 blog posts, which are again answered by Kallis.
From Giorgos Kallis answer: Andy argues that ‘the choices lie not just in growth or degrowth, but in vibrant democratic struggles for many-growths’. But I think there is confusion here regarding my argument. What I criticized was the idea and practice of ‘economic Growth’ (growth with capital G), which has come to have a very concrete meaning and material effect. I am not against any and all ‘growths’ in general, such as the growth of kids into adults or of seeds into trees.
Andy points many things that would need to ‘grow’ even after we abandon Growth: ‘equality, health, wellbeing, justice, sustainability, care, liberty, fulfilment, education, human flourishing and quality of life’. Also ‘connections among neurons, co-evolutions between species, experiences of individuals, empathies in relationships, networks within communities, sensibilities in art movements …’
I honestly fail to see why Andy insists to frame these aspirations in terms of ‘growth’. Equality has to be achieved (or approximated), not grow; same for justice, sustainability or liberty. Fulfilment, ‘human flourishing’, or experiences to ‘grow’? In what sense? In all these domains we are talking of qualitative changes, patterns of emergence, change and evolution (that Andy knows much better than me), not growth. The coevolution between species is not a ‘growth’ phenomenon in any meaningful sense of the term. And a Picasso is as good as a Goya which is as good as an ancient Greek or Egyptian sculpture; in what sense is it meaningful to talk about ‘growth’ in art? . . .